“Similarities and Differences in Class - Perspectives of Young Adults when Changing School Education Contexts “ (internal finance: 01.11.15-30.09.16)

Direction: Dr. Sina-Mareen Köhler, Team members: Dr. Meike Penkwitt, Nilüfer Kus

The project, "Similarities and Differences in Class,” studies, from a sociological perspective, the diversity of young adults who gather after the secondary level in a new classroom. This includes both pupils in the educational programs of secondary education at vocational schools and those in the upper grades of academic high schools and integrated schools. A total of 25 interviews are available that have been collected on the basis of a longitudinal study with students in the 11th grade. Currently, two cases were selected for further reconstruction to examine the experience of habitual distance/compliance, and to identify similarities and differences in their importance for processes of pooling or differentiation in class.

Heterogeneous Educational Biographies and Career Guidance Processes
of Young People at the Vocational College (external fund: 01.01.14-30.06.16)

Direction: Dr. Sina-Mareen Köhler, Team members: Dr. des. Daniel Goldmann, Bettina Zapf, Sabine Bunert

The project follows a qualitative approach and focuses on the career guidance processes of adolescents who attend a general education qualification path at a vocational college. These programs are intended not only to address work-related content and activities, but they enable the extension of secondary education. The project deals with the question of how young people experience these parallel tracks of general and vocational education and how that affects the orientation process. Using the reconstruction of narrative biographical interviews, the relevance of vocational colleges compared to other socialization areas, such as family, peers and leisure, should be analyzed. A longitudinal part of the study also aims to examine the development of work attitudes and future plans. The project is at the intersection of youth research, vocational education research, and school research. Valuable information for the differentiation and optimization of general and vocational education programs of the transition system are expected because of the contrasting data.

„Enough Time for Vocational Orientation? – The Relevance of Vocational Orientation Programs at School from a Student’s Perspective“ (internal finance: since 2012)

Dr. Sina-Mareen Köhler

The aim of the project is to examine the career plans and future aspirations of young adults and the role of school in contrast to other socialization contexts. During the research, investigating the relevance of vocational orientation programs became a subtopic. Research questions related to that are: 1) Which developments of career plans occur during transition? 2) What role do vocational orientation programs play in these developments? 3) What relevance do other socialization contexts have? The project uses a qualitative longitudinal approach to determine the transition and development of career plans before and after graduation. Biographical interviews with 17 young adults were collected and analyzed in two waves of data collection. Four schools that offer low and intermediate level pathways offered the possibility to get in touch with the students. Two of the schools were located in a rural region and the other two were located in an urban region. In addition, interviews with teachers at regular schools and vocational colleges were collected to get some background information about the organization of vocational orientation programs.